MoviePass to raise prices, limit access to blockbuster films

Jermaine Castillo
August 1, 2018

"Within the next 30 days", the company says that the "standard pricing plan" will now be $14.95 per month, pointing toward yet another disaster in the making for MoviePass.

Following a Monday where MoviePass parent company Helios & Matheson saw their share price plummet to below $1 (it's now trading at $0.82 as of 11AM EST) and its app go dark, the monthly movie ticket service put out a press release this morning entitled "MoviePass Accelerates Plan for Profitability" further underscoring their initiative to re-arrange decks chairs on their Titanic. This is no different than other in-home streaming options that often don't carry the latest shows or movies that may be available on other services. Subscribers could pay $9.95 per month and see as many movies in the theater as they'd like.

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Blocking the popular movies from MoviePass could help reduce the costs for the business, since the company pays full price for every admission. Unless a studio has a pre-arranged deal with the company, first run movies opening on more than 1,000 screens will be limited to MoviePass members during the first two weeks of their runs. During the launch weekend of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, many MoviePass subscribers discovered they couldn't use their subscription service to watch the movie. The embattled ticket-buying service limps on with a series of measures that it hopes will keep the cash-strapped company afloat.

By Friday afternoon, MoviePass said that its app was "now up-and-running with stability at 100%".

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News about MoviePass didn't get any better this week.

-Implementation of additional tactics to prevent abuse of the MoviePass service. The service did note that it intends to make the rules about which movies are available much clearer, so that users can "make plans to see a different movie". Subscribers have balked at what they see as a bait-and-switch, but MoviePass explains it as preferable to the alternative, which would be to raise subscription prices across the board. The MoviePass subscription is too good to be true, and the $5 million it recently borrowed likely won't last too long unless the subscription format changes; i.e., become way more expensive. Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC.N), the biggest US movie theater chain which offers a rival ticket service, jumped 7.5 percent in midday trading.

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At the same time, the AMC service, called A-List, includes IMAX and 3D films and allows subscribers to view up to three films a week, he added.

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